Experian increases its 2014 full year dividend by 5% (16% in stirling terms)

DividendMax Ltd.

Experian increases its 2014 full year dividend by 5% (16% in stirling terms)

General highlights

A positive finish for the year, returning to organic revenue growth in Q4, and we are executing well against our five key strategic priorities.

Our strong performance in North America Credit Services reflects the better environment for lending as well as particularly good results from business information, automotive and health.

Encouraging progress in repositioning our consumer offer in the US with Experian.com.

In the UK and Ireland we grew across all business areas and our Brazilian business outperformed a weak macroeconomic backdrop.

Strong cash outcome, while investing for growth and increasing returns to shareholders.

Financial highlights

Total revenue growth from continuing activities was 3% at constant exchange rates, with organic revenue up 1%. At actual exchange rates, total revenue from continuing activities rose 1% reflecting adverse foreign exchange movements.

Total EBIT from continuing activities rose 4% at constant exchange rates. At actual exchange rates, total EBIT was unchanged year-on-year at US$1,306m. EBIT margin from continuing activities was 27.2%, up 10 basis points before the impact of foreign exchange movements, down 20 basis points year-on-year.

Benchmark profit before tax was US$1,231m, up 4% at constant exchange rates, unchanged at actual rates. Profit before tax of US$1,006m (2014: US$1,049m).

Benchmark EPS was 95.2 US cents, up 8% at constant exchange rates and 4% at actual rates. Basic EPS of 76.9 US cents (2014: 76.1 US cents).

Strong operating cash flow with 104% conversion of EBIT into operating cash flow. Net debt reduced by US$592m, with net debt to EBITDA now 1.9 times (2014: 2.27 times).

Second interim dividend of 27.00 US cents per ordinary share to give full year dividend of 39.25 US cents per share, up 5%. Expressed in sterling, the full year dividend increase is 16%. Our US$600m share repurchase programme is also underway.

Brian Cassin, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"We have accomplished a lot in what has been an important year of transition for Experian. We delivered strong growth across many parts of the business, have made further progress with earnings and are increasing returns to shareholders. We finished the year well, with organic growth improving as we exited the year. We are also executing well on the five strategic priorities we outlined earlier this year. Regionally, we saw particularly good performances from our operations in North America Credit Services, UK and Ireland, Asia Pacific and Brazil where we continue to outperform a weak economy."

"As we look ahead, we will continue to execute on our plans to achieve our medium-term goals of mid single-digit organic revenue growth and strong growth in Benchmark earnings per share. In the coming year, we expect organic revenue growth to progress as we focus on our growth initiatives and as we continue to transform North America Consumer Services. While foreign exchange is a headwind, at constant currency we expect margins for the year to be stable and to deliver further progress in Benchmark earnings per share."

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